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A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

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This is a guest post by a dear sister in Christ – shared with her husband’s permission. They both desire God to use their story to bless other couples who are struggling. I realize every husband is different – and this approach may not be how God leads you to respond to your husband. That is totally fine. Follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting much more than anyone else’s story.

There are some husbands who are abusive who may respond violently to any attempt on a wife’s part to stand against sin. Please prayerfully consider any approach and know your husband. If you are not safe, please get somewhere safe. This post is not intended for wives whose husbands are violent, drunk, high, not in their right minds, or physically abusive. God never condones abuse or sin against anyone – and neither do I. All sin is abusive on some level. God never gives anyone a free pass to sin against anyone else – no matter how others may treat us. God commands us as believers to “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

A note from the author before we get started –

Some are going to see this scene of my being yelled at as “abusive” behavior from my husband. I have never feared bodily harm from my husband. His yelling did not scare me, just wore me out. But I became a participant in the cycle, too. We didn’t have a love and respect “bank account” stored up at this point, so things were tense in general. Our marriage has now been restored.


————–

In answer to your question how God used different situations to turn our hearts to Him:

First, I needed to understand the huge amount of disrespectful attitudes and behaviors I was guilty of, blind to, and how dishonoring they were to God, and how they impacted the heart of my husband. Hurt in husbands often looks like anger. It’s a good rule of thumb for me that if my husband has gotten really angry with me, something I’ve said or done has felt disrespectful to him. He may not even be aware of his hurt at the moment because he processes his feelings/emotions differently from how I do. Sometimes even months or years later, he’ll look back and realize what was going on in his mind at the time. That always amazes me.

I wish I would have made more of an effort to understand the male mind.

The world will tell us that women are better at relationships and if men would just listen to us and take our advice, everything would be better in our marriages. God designed men and women differently – not one better than the other. As long as we arrogantly think they need to relate like we do, we will destroy the harmony, proving the point that we are not better in relationships because we fail to even understand the validity of them having unique needs and ways of thinking and relating.

Shaunti Feldhahn’s little book,For Women Only was an eye opener for me (from April – This book was very helpful for me, as well, to better understand men). It’s written after extensive polling and research of men. It’s a gem!..and quick and easy reading. “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggrichs was used to introduce me to the concept of respect, but didn’t get into enough examples of how that worked out practically for me (from April, Dr. Eggerichs has written subsequent books that have gone into more detail about respect). But it had an important role in revealing my disrespect initially. So I recommend it. I read it with tears of regret but thanksgiving over what was revealed in me.

With our yelling matches, I got to the point that I was just so weary of them.There was a situation where he was clearly doing something, that after seeking the Lord in prayer about it and seeking advice from an older Godly woman I trusted, I was certain I needed to confront my husband on the matter.

I dreaded it because I knew no matter how it was said, he was going to explode. I just didn’t know how to implement respect when it was going to turn to yelling.

This is the advice that was given me by a godly mentoring wife who knew and loved me dearly, and it was amazing when I put it into practice in this situation:

I am responsible to God only for my end of things. I was to always “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and that included being respectful to my husband. I was to keep my words brief with as little emotion as possible…..

Because this was a rare case where his choices were clearly inappropriate and threatening to the marriage, I had to be firm and tell him it was ” unacceptable.” That was my key word to keep me on point.

  • I was told if he angrily yelled back that I was to quietly wait for him to stop.
  • I would briefly repeat my point with as little emotion as possible, and hold my ground respectfully— not take the bait to engage in the old pattern of yelling back.

After this went on for a few rounds and I did not join in the yelling but waited until he stopped, and just repeated my point briefly and respectfully, he finally screamed back something to the effect that the conversation was over. I calmly went upstairs to the bedroom and quietly shut the door and got on the bed. I sat amazed that God answered my prayer to stay firmly confident in what I needed to communicate without repeating the old yelling game.

Suddenly, he angrily threw open the door and started yelling again. He had a new argument to make me back down on my stance or engage him in the fight. I watched him carrying on for quite some time, staying detached from his behavior, and remaining completely calm. Part of how I did that was by looking at his behavior intellectually instead of reacting emotionally. In my head I was actually thinking, “Wow. Look how completely out of control he seems to be with his emotions. How interesting.” Still, I did not talk back disrespectfully or show disrespect in my demeanor. I waited a long time for him to stop so it was my turn to speak again.

I firmly, yet calmly:

  • explained my original point
  • acknowledged I heard what he just said
  • went back to the point at hand

I watched his face when I stopped talking. I could see he was completely baffled at this new shift in dynamics and was somewhat confused. He turned and walked out, slamming the door behind him. My heart was racing a bit, but I was also AMAZED at how it felt to keep respectful but in control of my emotions. I was thanking God for allowing me to do that hard thing and to experience His power.

This one episode resulted in my husband changing the course of his actions as I requested, and not doing the thing that was unacceptable. He did it without another argument about it.

Is this some magic formula?? No, it absolutely is not. He still could have chosen to continue down the road he’d been heading. I would have had another decision to make had he taken that route. But I would have still had to answer to God for MY choices only, and to remain respectful as unto God.

This was a very rare case of his actions being so grossly wrong, it would have been a deal breaker in my mind if it continued. But I didn’t tell him that. I simple repeated that it was “unacceptable” respectfully, briefly, with as little emotion as possible. There was some passion in my speech, but it was very under control and just enough to let him understand how strongly my convictions were about it. He had to answer to God for his decisions and reactions, and I rested in knowing I would answer to God for my behavior and attitudes. I chose to make pleasing God my goal.

One of the things I sensed was going on during this scene was my husband was able to hear himself more clearly. Some of his arguments were pretty weak but he was using them with full gusto. I think my not interrupting helped him hear himself more clearly. I also believe I gained respect from him as a result of my new behavior.

There is much more to our story. But this was the beginning.

SHARE:

Has God ever led you in a specific way to  handle conflict with your husband that you would like to share?

Gentlemen, what are some godly ways you believe wives might respectfully confront their husbands about sin, or respond respectfully when a husband is yelling or being harsh?

RELATED:

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

A Wife Responds Beautifully to Her Husband’s Bad Mood

A Wife Responds to Conflict with Her Headstrong Husband in a Godly Way

Conflict Resolution in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

 

47 thoughts on “A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

  1. I can see myself in the role as the husband and wife. I have lost control of my emotions when I have felt rejected or dismissed by my husband, which has been quite often this past year. I am making efforts to NOT allow the little girl in me who is having a temper tantrum and feels unloved, to come out and derail the present adult situation that is going on in my marriage.

    This past Monday started off at 6 am with my husband yelling at me when I said good morning to him. This was due to a heated conversation the night before. I looked at him and felt sadness in my heart. He needs help working through our marital issues. I can’t be the one to tell him that. I can only pray that he reaches out to solid Christian men for help. Since Monday morning, he has been nice to me and has shown some affection. I am scared to death that the other shoe will drop. We have counseling today and I feel the anxiety building.

    1. Sisters (and brothers),

      Let’s surround Betsy, her husband, their marriage, and this counseling session and counselor with prayer together!

      Lord,

      We lift up Betsy to You in the highest heavens. Thank You that You are good. Thank You for all that Jesus has done for her and for her husband. Thank You that You are the God who provides. Thank You that You are the God who sees. Thank You that You are the Prince of Peace. We entrust Betsy to Your care today. Let her rest in Your peace and sovereignty. Let her rest in Your love and provision. Help her to cast her cares upon You because You care for her. These burdens are too heavy for her shoulders, but they are not to great for You to carry. We pray for her to have some time with You today before the counseling session. Speak Your wisdom and truth to her heart. Let her focus on Phil. 4:4-8 and 4:12-13. Help her to not worry and not be afraid, but to put all of her faith in You. Direct her for Your glory! Bind her wounds and heal her heart, mind, and soul. Let her desire Christ far above anything else in all the world. Change her by Your Spirit’s power into the godly woman You desire her to be.

      We lift up Betsy’s husband to You. There is much pain in this marriage. It seems that he must be hurting. Please direct his steps. Draw him to Yourself. Let him seek You and Your righteousness above all else. Give him Your wisdom to lead in this family. Heal his heart, mind, and soul. Let him cling to Your truth and love. Bring restoration and reconciliation. Bind his wounds. Change him by the power of Your Spirit to be more and more like Christ.

      We pray for Your wisdom for the counselor this couple will see. Give this person Your wisdom, Your truth, Your love, Your heart, Your mind, and Your perspective. Use this one to bring peace and to restore harmony and fellowship in this marriage. Reveal any sin to Betsy and her husband that they might each repent. Give them the power to move toward one another in Your love.

      Thank You that You have plans to use the tension in this marriage for great good. We pray for You to cause Betsy and her husband to grow much stronger in their faith in Christ through this and that You might use it to refine and purify their faith and their hearts.

      In the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

      1. Thank you. Yesterday’s session went okay. The counselor was able to confront my husband on his behavior and patterns of thinking, which was great because I see my husband as very stuck.

        I have got to be diligent to turn to God for my needs, for my validation, affirmation, and friendship. This is a 4 day weekend for me and through the 23 years that we have been together, 20 married, we have always camped, had cookouts, gone to the beach, etc. now we do not camp, our circle of friends has diminished due to many circumstances, and we are not in the same place to do anything together. The grief is overwhelming.

        I love how you said ” to use this tension in this marriage for great good.” I am training myself to believe that whatever is happening, God is using this for good.

        Hugs to all.

        1. Betsy,

          My prayer is that you will take this long weekend as a time to really focus on Christ and to find all of your joy, identity, purpose, acceptance, love, strength, peace, and security in Him alone. Savor your time with Him. Allow Him to speak to you. Stay in His Word and in prayer. Maybe journal your thoughts and prayers and what God is speaking to you as you read and pray.

          Ask God to show you how to bless your husband this weekend – expecting nothing in return. Sometimes husbands are blessed by having a bit of space to think and heal. Sometimes they are blessed by our sincere smile. Sometimes when we make their favorite meal. Whatever you believe God desires you to do – my prayer is that you will do so with no strings attached – that it might not be manipulation, but that it might be love God’s style. Unconditional.

          This time of waiting is one of the most important parts of the journey as you learn to be still, slow down, and rest in God’s peace, sovereignty and love. The fact that your husband is not giving you what you want is a wonderful opportunity to learn to depend fully on Christ and His sufficiency.

          If you want to talk more about this, if there is something that is hanging you up, let me know!
          Much love to you!

  2. This story is great! Especially for those like me who had to learn how to control their wildly overbearing emotions. Until I got MY emotions in check, my husband could not hear me. When I did this, I felt so much more confident in myself. I felt I knew a truth that would work…with anyone. But it was controlling ME. I also kept in mind to “build up another, not to cut down” that kept my words in love toward my husband. I could swear this story was written by someone watching me and my husband. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Thank you to the wife who shared, great story! Studying my husband and my role/reaction in difficult conversations is so valuable – of course doing this through speaking to God is so important. My husband tends to shut down completely. So in reaction to that I used to shut down too. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit I’ve found the best thing with my husband is to ask questions about how he’s feeling or what he’s thinking. Always leaving my emotions out, I have to really lean on Jesus for this – His power is SO amazing; He really is our helper.
    Thanks April! Blessings all…

  4. Thanks for sharing! Since I’ve started on this journey (a month ago) of breaking down idols and putting God in his rightful place in my life, I have yet to encounter this test in my marriage. I’ve been a bit nervous about it but this example is going to really help! Praise God!

  5. Thank you for the article today. I have been truly struggling with the thought of approaching my husband over behavior that was not acceptable at all. My husband has an anger problem that escalated into a terrible and scary episode back in March of this year. I did not feel safe but I did not leave, in fact, I did nothing. I didn’t get emotional, I didn’t yell or argue, no crying or sobbing, I didn’t respond at all. But that is the problem, because I never responded, I feel like I have conveyed the message that I am okay with that behavior. Truth be told, I was too scared to respond during the moment and so overwhelmed with thankfulness for God’s protection afterwards that my focus wasn’t on him…but Him. So instead of trying to approach my husband afterwards, I have just enveloped myself in this state of feeling blessed and thankful and have tried to not focus on what happened.
    So now months have passed by, but I think about it still, and wonder when and if it will happen again and in the back of my mind I know its possible.
    I want to approach him about this because it has been so hard pretending it didn’t happen, everything is fine and I have not felt uneasy, but I have been very reluctant to bring it up because of his temper.
    This morning, after reading this message, I felt God was giving me the confidence and strength to face my own fears. I know that when I face my husband with this issue I am not standing there alone. God is right there beside me and He is holding my hand. I will not worry or be afraid because I am putting all of my faith in Him. Regardless what the outcome may be, I can always trust that He is in control.

    1. Tammy3346,

      I can feel how scary that must have been as you are describing your response.

      Do you know what triggered him? Has this ever happened before? Do you believe you are safe? Does he have a history of violence? Does he have a godly male mentor?

      I implore you to spend much time in prayer before bringing up something that went unaddressed for so long. God may prompt you to address it. Or, He may prompt you to wait until it happens again. He can give you wisdom about the timing. I remember one wife learned to say, “Do I have permission to speak into your life?” to her husband before she attempted to address something.

      Did he apologize or repent already? Or did he try to make things up to you?

      Do you know if he is hurting in the marriage or feeling disrespected?

      Are you dealing with any mental health issues, unrepentant sin, or addictions in the marriage?

      Do you have a godly wife mentor or prayer partner?

      I pray for God’s Spirit and His wisdom and power that you might handle this as God would desire you to with the goal of seeking healing and restoration.

      I would also encourage you to check out “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin” before talking with your husband.

      I am praying for wisdom for you, my dear sister!

      1. My husband did something that was truly not a good thing. He held a knife to my throat and said repeatedly that he was going to kill me. He apologized by saying that he was sorry that I made him do that. It happened after he had been angry and depressed for quite some time and everything was making him get upset, not necessarily me or our relationship, just life things in general.
        I was being respectful and calm for a long time throughout all this time but that day when he started talking about abusing the cat (because of normal cat behavior), it upset me. I kept quiet and tried to watch my body language, but when he said he was going to throw the cat outside I responded very sarcastically, “Maybe you should!” Really this was just out of pure exhaustion of listening to him and I thinking that the cat would be better off somewhere else if he was to continue with the threats he was making of abusing it. I knew that was wrong and I regretted saying it immediately. Before I had a chance to apologize though he had already made it across the room for his knife, came back and grabbed me by the shirt and dragged me across the room. He held me against a wall with the knife to throat and screamed “You don’t think I will do it! I will! I will kill you!!” He kept saying it over and over. I said nothing. I just closed my eyes and waited. It all happened very fast.
        I went upstairs afterwards and he came up very angry and said something about divorce and giving me money and asked if I already had a lawyer in mind. I very calmly said no. I didn’t say anything else. We have never talked about what happened. I did ask him about going to marriage counseling and I mentioned anger management counseling but ironically he was very angry that I asked and said no.
        He has had one other outburst which happened two weeks after that one which resulted in him punching the windshield of our car, but nothing since then. I actually felt very unsafe in my home and so I left using the excuse to visit my son in another country for over a month. I just got back two weeks ago. I dreaded coming back and facing all of the uncertainty again, but I draw my strength from God and will prevail in this situation just as I have in all the others. I immerse myself daily in prayer and ask for wisdom and direction.
        I have a safety plan set up now. If I feel threatened by him I will call for help, but don’t you think that it might be disrespectful of me to not let him know how his behavior really affected me to begin with?

        1. Tammy3346,

          Oh goodness. 🙁

          This situation goes way beyond a husband just yelling. It would be bad enough if he verbally threatened to kill you – I would be gone at that point, myself, I think – until there was serious humility, repentance, and godly sorrow over that sinful behavior and a major change in attitude over a significant period of time. But the fact that he held a knife to your throat raises HUGE red flags for me. And then he blamed you for his actions!?!? Yikes! 🙁 There is no situation that could EVER justify any husband or wife threatening murder or putting a knife to his/her spouse’s throat.

          I haven’t been in a scenario like this. I haven’t taken classes about how to counsel wives with abusive husbands. But I understand that there are times when wives with abusive husbands attempt to confront their husbands that this confrontation may trigger real violence. I want you to be safe. I don’t use the word “abusive” lightly. But what happened here – was very abusive. It was NOT ok at all! I don’t like to ever have to recommend separation to wives. I have every hope that Christ can heal marriages. If there is any way for a wife to stay, that is my goal. But – I am just not sure it is wise for you to be there.

          It seems to me that you have very, very serious issues going on here and that you may need experienced, godly, outside, trustworthy help to negotiate this. I don’t know your husband. I don’t know how he may respond. I am quite concerned that if you attempt to dredge up this incident on your own, that he may become violent again.

          My thoughts are that I would encourage you not to try to handle this on your own. But my greatest prayer is that you will hear God’s voice clearly. His wisdom is much higher than mine. He knows exactly what you need to do. I pray that God might provide the wisdom and resources you need.

          If you are not safe there, it may be necessary to leave. Has he repented of any of his behavior and taken responsibility? If he does not even see that what he did was wrong on his own – it is difficult for me to imagine that you are safe. I am not sure it would be wise to live there until he would be willing to go to appropriate counseling and take steps to deal with his anger and violence and to rebuild trust. Yes, this issue needs to be dealt with – but it needs to be dealt with in a way that protects you.

          Have you checked out the National Hotline for Domestic Violence or have you talked to a godly pastor or biblical counselor? Have you looked into any resources for abused wives? The Salvation Army may have resources that could be helpful.

          Has he ever hurt you in the past? Has he ever hurt anyone else or abused other animals?

          Does he claim a relationship with Christ?

          How is your walk with Christ going?

          How have things been going since you returned home?

          How my heart breaks for you both. He is not beyond the reach of Jesus. But – it just seems to me that you are in a potentially very dangerous situation. I want to take that seriously.

          1. Tammy3346,
            I completely agree with April’s advice to you. The godly mentor who was advising me would have said the same things to you. Please be safe. I’m praying for wisdom for you.

  6. April,

    One of the things I sensed was going on during this scene was my husband was able to hear himself more clearly. Some of his arguments were pretty weak but he was using them with full gusto. I think my not interrupting helped him hear himself more clearly. I also believe I gained respect from him as a result of my new behavior.

    1. Story’s Author,

      This is really helpful. I think I may add it to the post! Thank you so much. 🙂 That is an important point about that you believe you gained his respect. Men need wives they can respect, not wives they can steamroll. There should be respect and love flowing in both directions in a healthy marriage. A man who respects his wife will allow her to influence him. If he doesn’t respect his wife, he generally won’t allow her to influence him.

  7. One of the best pieces of advice I could give is the following:

    Many time the kindling wood for that rage of fire you see in the confrontation has been laid by the wife herself.

    It’s because men are not understood by women, nor does it seem that women care to understand until they’re trying to correct you, that you see such a volatile reaction in a man. As such, it’s much easier to have those difficult conversations if you’ve been feeding each other all along. Here are some of what I call gender equivalents:

    Woman:Attention = Man:Respect
    Woman:Emotional intimacy = Man:Sexual intimacy
    Woman:Verbal Release = Man:Physical Release
    Woman:Sensitive to what’s said(Ear Gate) = Man:Sensitive to what’s seen(Eye Gate)
    Woman:Sexuality tied into state of relationship = Man:Sexuality tied into physical needs of his body
    Woman:Flexible & expects man to change = Man:Inflexible, expects woman to continue same behavior that he’s gotten used to
    Woman:Needs compliments directly to her person = Man:Needs compliments as to the huge effort he’s put forth

    …and so if a man feels that his needs, which are just as important to him, are not a priority to his wife, then it’s very difficult for a man to receive what his wife is saying. Everything about hearing what your wife has to say will be easier for a man if that man feels like the above male needs being met are important to his wife.

    1. ProphetDavidTaylor,
      Thank you for sharing this masculine perspective. I pray it may be helpful to wives here.

      Ladies,
      I realize that not every couple will have exactly these dynamics. But a lot of couples will have quite a few of them. I agree with Mr. Taylor that we would do well to make sure that our husbands know that we esteem their needs just as much as our own, and that we count their needs as equally valid as our own. I also agree with him that if we are feeding our husbands what they need, they will be more open to hearing about our concerns and our needs. This is not a guarantee, of course, but if we are neglecting our husbands needs and then we try to make demands – that will probably not go well.

    2. ProphetDavidTaylor,
      I had years of sin and failure toward my husband in the ways you mentioned. It grieves me that I was so blind to it for so long.

      I had yet to read Shaunti’s book on how men think when this scene took place. I wish I had! It was so illuminating. I had read Love and Respect, but I was still very new to the concept of respect at this point. That’s why when this crisis came up that needed addressing pretty quickly, I was caught in a difficult place, in part, because of my past injuries to my precious husband’s heart. This doesn’t take him off the hook for behaving poorly. But sure gives insight into my part in his hurt and frustration.

      There is hope though. God has healed our marriage. But it wasn’t over night, for sure.

      Thank you for adding to the discussion.

      1. You are quite welcome, Story’s Author. I’m very encouraged as a man, a leader, and a minister to see what April is doing here, and I’m hoping that more and more believers will begin to seek Christ in terms of living out the biblical model of marriage.

        After all, if it doesn’t seem like our God can give us better marital relationships than the secular model, why would people be attracted to believing in Him?

        1. ProphetDavidTaylor,

          Yes! If we don’t display God’s design and harmony in marriage, what do we have to offer to the world? Marriage is supposed to demonstrate – in a living parable – what the relationship between Christ and His church is supposed to be. If our marriages look just like the worlds, what power do we have in our witness? We need God’s power to take over our marriages and His truth to permeate every fiber of our beings and our marriages and families for His glory!

          Thank you so much for your support, prayers, and encouragement, my dear brother!

        2. ProphetDavidTaylor,

          It deeply touched me when you spoke of your heart as a man, a leader, and a minister being encouraged. I’m so glad. There’s sure a lot going on in christian marriages that can tempt us to grow discouraged.

          Please join us in praying for the hearts of wives to be opened and teachable to God’s design for marriage when they visit here.

          I’ve sent a handful of close sisters in Christ here after their sharing the struggles of their marriages. None but one, after visiting, expressed any value in it. I don’t get it, except to think that their hearts have not been prepared yet.

          We need an awakening in the hearts of christian women. I think April’s new book is going to be a great tool for that, Lord willing.

          Thank you again for your comments.

          1. Please join us in praying for the hearts of wives to be opened and teachable to God’s design for marriage when they visit here.

            I’ve sent a handful of close sisters in Christ here after their sharing the struggles of their marriages. None but one, after visiting, expressed any value in it. I don’t get it, except to think that their hearts have not been prepared yet.

            We need an awakening in the hearts of christian women.

            All of the above words, but especially the bolded portion, ignited me to intercession. Sister April, her blog, her book, and the Daughters of God are now on my prayer list. I’m praying that God will send a spirit of desiring Him into the hearts of women, because she that hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled. Because it’s not about us as men, it’s about women that love the Lord above all else, and are willing to glorify Him through their lives.

            I also will be releasing some teaching materials on Godly marriage, and I pray that Sister April’s book will turn the minds and hearts of women towards the Lord Jesus Christ.

    3. Wow, this is so right on David. I can see my husband in everything you have written. Especially the inflexible part. Our counselor encouraged my husband to be open to the changes I am making instead of seeing me with the eyes of expecting me to stay the same. He has been unwilling to acknowledge any growth that I am making. I haven’t met my husbands needs for a very long time. I havent known how to and I stopped even trying because of anger and bitterness. I am so willing to have that be different now. This blog and the conversations have given me hope. Plus I have the greatest counselor whose office is open 24/7. His name is God.

      1. Betsy,
        Yay! I’m glad to hear how the counseling went. I hope your husband will consider what the counselor said.

        I know that there are a lot of changes to be made – but our God is able to change your heart, mind, soul, and life in powerful ways, my precious sister! I’m so excited to get to be on this journey with you.

        Anything you want to talk about today?

        Much love!
        April

  8. April,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your advice re: the knife to the throat incident. I do not believe this is a safe situation, but one in which the wife in question is fortunate that it didn’t result in injury or death. The next time it is likely to escalate.

    One big warning I see here is the threats against both the wife and the contemplation of animal abuse. Violence against animals and against people is often linked and perpetrators often feed and nurture their thoughts in that direction, egging themselves on until they have worked up the courage to act. I think any police officer with years of experience can verify this. One sign of change that is a must in this sort of situation is that he is taking responsibility for what he allows into his mind and is making himself accountable to someone. It is a darn good possibility that something evil has found an entrance into his mind and he needs immediate help. He is at this moment, coming too close for comfort to being a violent offender.

    A safety plan does you no good with someone who is knifing you, if you cannot get to a phone so I hope by safety plan she means she is wired directly to the police and need only push a button to summon help, and has made them aware of what has occurred, as well as her pastor and any male relatives. Perhaps someone could stay with them instead of her leaving, if that would provoke further violence.

    We all like to believe that we are overreacting and it would never get that bad but it isn’t always that way. It would be very sad if a police incident occurred in which anyone came to grief. My personal feeling is that immediate help needs to occur and she should not handle this on her own.

    I am terrified that she will wind up getting counsel from one of those pollyanna pastors who says something like ” Well, he said he’s sorry so you should forgive him and resume being his wife or you are disobeying God”. Most pastors seem to be clueless about the kind of man who is an abuser and they seem to want to stay that way. She needs the help of men of courage and true godliness who take sin and evil seriously.

    I would, in her case, have the conversation about removing herself from the home with someone else present and then after affirming her love for him and desire to support him in getting to the roots of whatever is causing his rage, let him know that she is temporarily keeping them both safe by staying with soemone else, like a pastor and his wife or what have you and leave in the company of those people. And not let anyone guilt her into feeling she is being unforgiving or unchristian by so doing.

    One may forgive and not yet trust until appropriate fruit is produced in the life. And, no, I don’t agree that a wife’s disrespect can cause such seriously disturbed behaviour. This has its roots in something deeper.

    I would like to suggest that all of us pray today that God would reveal and defuse the roots of his rage and desire to hurt, and that any enemy access to his mind be broken and removed. This is pretty serious and both lives may be at stake.

    1. Patricia,

      Yes, I am extremely concerned for our sister’s safety. Those are very large warning signs – the verbal threat of murder, the actual putting a knife to her throat, the refusal to take responsibility for his abusive behavior but his blaming her, and his desire to abuse animals. Animal abuse often precedes murder of humans – it seems to be a gateway to violence against people.

      And I agree – how can she have a safety plan that will be effective if he decides to put a knife to her throat again?

      This is a situation where no matter how respectful a wife is, the husband has serious issues that he owns that he needs help with to address. A wife cannot take responsibility for a husband’s sin. I’m sure the wife has room to grow in Christ. I encourage her to grow personally in her walk with Christ, but this just does not sound like a good situation. And she is not responsible for his threats of violence and murder.

      I want her to find counsel who knows how to handle a situation like this, and involve the police if necessary. This is not a matter of being disrespectful or unforgiving – exactly. She can forgive him – but that does not mean it is wise to trust. We are commanded by Christ to forgive, we are not commanded to trust unrepentant sinners. We can respond without sin without putting ourselves in danger.

      Thank you for calling others to pray with us for this couple – for deliverance and spiritual healing for both of them in Christ. This is very serious – and it may well be a life and death situation.

  9. thanks April for your words of wisdom; I apologize if I’ve come across wrong or tactless in my post in any way. Not meaning to, just very very concerned for her safety.

  10. My husband has never cheated on me before or showed any interest in any other women but last night he went out with his brother and some friends and never came home… And didn’t call me until late morning, at first I wasn’t worried. I asked God to give me peace and not get upset when my husband called me he said sorry for leaving me hanging and that he drank too much and didn’t want to drive home and just fell asleep when he got back to his brothers. I do not know the men at all who he went out with, except his brother and I would not say good influence. But I have never even met the men, or seen them or know their names. My husband was being very sweet to me on the phone.. Saying he can’t wait to see me later and stuff.. Idk why but I just had this feeling he did something wrong. Idk how or when to approach an assumption respectfully..

    1. I will pray with you Lisa Marie. I pray that God will guide and protect you and your marriage. I pray that this situation will be illuminated and you will act as God desires in whatever may be.

    2. Lisa Marie, I had a similar situation just days ago with my husband going out with a few guys, one I haven’t met, and it went a lot later than usual. He seemed skittish upon coming home and my suspicions were raised. I decided to wait it out and simply acted happy to see him…allowing that uncomfortable vacuum to see if he’d initiate an explanation. I’m glad I didn’t jump to conclusions because nothing happened. He tends to get upset over things that are no big deal to me like one of the guys being annoying or traffic or unexpected schedule changes and this time was no different. He was a bit disgruntled at one of the guys and verbalizing false accusations would only have put me in the line of fire by questioning his character. I don’t know how your husband is or what God may prompt you to do but I just wanted to put out there that sometimes it really can be nothing. When I’ve approached him with trust he’s always been receptive to hearing how uncomfortable it is for me to wait up concerned, especially if he usually calls. I thank him for his dependability and then, if needed, tell him what I’d prefer if there are similar circumstances. I also make sure I take the time to empathize with his experience. I want him to feel safe telling me things and feel that I am interested in his experiences. Approaching in fear or suspicion and attempting to squeeze information out of him never got me anywhere. Hope this helps. God bless!

  11. I wanted to address some of the questions that were written in the comments about my situation.
    My husband has never apologized to me personally for his actions but I really don’t know if he has asked for forgiveness. Is it truly repenting if you don’t go to your brother and make things right after hurting them? I don’t know. He didn’t physically harm me that day (except for a small cut on my hand when I put my hand up as a reaction when he came towards me with the knife), it has all been an emotional hurt.

    He was very concerned about me telling others what happened. I feel like I am betraying or disrespecting him when I speak about it but I feel this is not something I can handle without asking for outside advice along with my prayers. I have spoken in confidence to one of my Pastors and to two friends from my women’s group (one is a counselor). The advice I received from the women seemed to lean towards leaving my husband until he is ready to get the help hr needs. I know my husband wouldn’t understand a separation like that. He would immediately want a divorce. I understand that they were/are concerned about my safety and my concern still is that as well but I also was concerned with if I left, would God understand. The Pastor explained things a little differently. He said that just because I left for safety reasons it would not mean I would be agreeing to divorce, that is certainly not what I want. I want to see healing in my marriage, for my husband and myself. I want to see our marriage rebuilt on the foundations that God set up for us.

    The church also connected me with the National Abuse Hotline number who connected me with a local Safe Place number which I have stored on my phone.
    My husband has hurt me once before many many years ago (20+) and that time it was physical but nothing else physical has happened since then until now. Over the years since the first attack, it has just been scary violent outbursts with threats of bodily harm to me or others and animals, which resulted in breaking of things (smashing furniture, holes in walls, etc).

    Neither one of us have been a Christian for very long. Although we go to church every week, he tends to keep himself isolated from everyone outside of the Sunday service. He used to go to a Saturday Bible study for men but stopped going about a year ago because someone said something he disagreed with. He really doesn’t hang out or talk to anyone except for me, our adult children, and occasionally he chats with people about work but never hangs out with anyone. He likewise does not want me to have relationships with people family or otherwise and does get upset when I am invited or asked to do things.

    My walk with Christ has been good, actually wonderful! 🙂 I am always looking for ways to draw closer and improve my walk. I am a sinner and I need help every day, but to be honest I feel very blessed. I have the Almighty Savior walking with me day in and day out! A few years ago I would have handled this whole situation a lot differently. I was not a follower a few years ago, so for one, I would have fought back with my words (very disrespectful) and number two, I would have physically tried to defend myself because I would not have known how to stay calm. I am sure I would have been very angry and would have called the police. But, I have not felt angry at him at all. I didn’t call the police because they would have arrested him and obviously my husband needs help but I don’t know if he would really receive the kind of help he needs behind bars. My hope was that the severity of what he did would have been an eye opener to him and he would agree now to anger management or marriage counseling, but sadly he didn’t.

    I know I do have some tough decisions to make and I am facing difficult circumstances in my life, but with Christ in my life it makes me feel like I don’t have to feel as overwhelmed or at a complete loss. I just don’t know what the best approach is in all of this and I am dealing with feeling hurt and confused by his attack on me (we were not having martial issues and had not even been fighting or arguing). I definitely do find rest and comfort in the Word and while in prayer. Life isn’t always easy, God gave us brothers and sisters in Christ to help hold each other up and encourage and pray for each other and hold each other accountable for our actions. (Please correct or add to that if this is wrong because I am fairly new as a Christian). I pray about my situation all day it is so comforting to me to know others are praying for my situation as well.

    Since I came back to the US two weeks ago my husband has been very nice to me. He was really really distraught while I was gone and is very happy I am back. I am praying that the time away from each other was beneficial for him to reflect on what happened. Since he has been acting so nice, I thought maybe I should bring up the past abuse because I thought that God was telling me while I was away that this was something I needed to address. (It was making me feel sick to even think of coming home.) But when I got back, I really felt I did not have the courage. After reading all the discussions I think I will continue to pray about it before saying anything or make any decisions.

    I thank each and every one of you who has held my husband and me up in prayer. I also thank everyone for their comments, it really has been insightful and helpful to me. God bless each of you. I know that even when things look impossible…nothing is impossible for God. There is always hope and that is what I hold on to. I have faith and hope that God will restore my marriage and heal the hurts that we both are experiencing right now. I know He uses all things for the good and so even if I don’t understand how this situation can be used for good, I know He does 🙂

    1. Tammy,

      I want you to know I am praying for you both. Jesus loves you and your husband. God can heal him. But you cannot change him. I can understand why he wouldn’t want you to share what he did and said. But he crossed the line in a big way in this incident. It is not disrespectful to get yourself out of harm’s way and to reach out for help if your life is in danger, which it appears it was that night, at least.

      I agree with your pastor and the women who counseled you. Leaving for your safety is not you divorcing him or asking for divorce. He may decide to divorce if you leave, but that is not your fault or responsiblity. Does that make sense?

      I am so thankful for your relationship with and dependence on Christ! That is awesome! I pray for wisdom for you and your husband and for healing for you both. I pray for God’s greatest glory in your lives.

      Any time you need prayer, please reach out to me, I am glad to pray for you!
      Much love to you!

      1. Tammy,

        Also, none of us can possibly know if you are safe with your husband or not. I am encouraged that he is trying to be extra sweet and nice. That shows me that maybe he realizes he messed up. But my highest concern is your safety. God alone knows the situation in all of its depth. I pray you will continue to seek His will and also godly counsel from those you trust at your church – if their counsel is sound biblically.

  12. I love reading this godly wife’s story. God will fight for you, you need only to be still exodus 14:14.
    This has been a mainstay in my focus when there are issues to be addressed.

    I too noticed when I didn’t respond in anger or insult or even ‘defensively’…my husband (I believe) was able to hear what he sounded like. He was not able to focus on me and my sinful words if I was still and quiet and calm (with a peace that the Lord provided me with). I can remember several moments that I acted similarly to this wife over the last few years in my respect walk and the discussions, arguments or conversations are much less heated and very quick to cool and return to normality where years before there would be a lot of coldness and silence and cold shoulder behavior on both of our parts before we could come together again. Tough situations resolve much quicker now, not that all of them are resolved. I am thankful for God’s direction and my openness to follow and obey. Such a joy seeing blessings in others lives here.

  13. Tammy, so glad to hear you are not dealing with all of this in isolation. Thank you for your graciousness, its not always easy to let others speak into your life esp when its a difficult situation. Will keep praying. ((( ))), lots of sistas praying fervent prayeres availeth much.

  14. It has been my experience that the best thing to do when a husband starts to get angry is to immediately leave the premises. Go to another room and put a door between you and the anger. Don’t respond in any way at all, just let it blow. Even attempting to respond in a respectful, calm way can escalate the situation WAY more than you want, so in my opinion, just immediately leaving is the best approach. It eliminates the audience and defuses the situation, as much as you may wish to resolve it, this is unfortunately the only way to really resolve it.

    Also, if you start having a conversation and a topic comes up on which you do not agree, and he raises his voice, end the conversation on your part. Drop it entirely. Don’t respond. Nod, outwardly agree, or at least say, “Well, I don’t agree, but that’s OK, you have your opinion and I’ll have mine,” and thus end the conversation. Don’t let a situation arise in which he starts to yell, especially if you have kids. Do this for their sake.

    1. Anonymous,
      There can be times when God’s Spirit prompts a wife to leave or just be quiet. There are times that may be the safest thing to do, certainly. There can be times to avoid conflict. But there are also times when it is important to share concerns, desires, needs, and ideas. Avoiding conflict is not always the most godly route to take. Agreeing just to avoid him yelling – isn’t really resolution of the conflict. And he is missing out on your important perspective. Not that you should try to incite your husband to anger, but it is important to have the freedom to share what you need and your concerns.

      And there are times when God does want us to confront our husbands about their sin respectfully.

      Does he do anything violent? Or does he just yell? Are you safe?

      I pray that God might give you and your husband wisdom, my precious sister!

  15. Like Anonymous, I have found that when a discussion between me and my dear husband starts to become heated with emotions bubbling to the surface, the best thing for me to do is back off and drop it. Not out of fear or timidity, but out of respect. There is nothing in this world worth losing my peace and possibly my relationship over! I just try to smile and say “Ok” then go into another room and get busy doing something else, reading, folding laundry, whatever. I have found that after a while, my husband will seek me out, hug me, and apologize which I accept happily. Other times, after a while, I will find him and snuggle up to him and say “I’m sorry. I love you” which he always accepts happily. I agree that this approach is MUCH better than continuing a discussion then having a full on screaming match in front of the kids.

    1. W.,

      It sounds to me like this is a healthy approach in your situation – because you are not doing this out of fear, but just to give some space for him to cool down without confronting him. And then he does come to you and apologizes. So that sounds good.

      My concern is when a wife never ever shares her needs or her concerns and ideas at all and doesn’t feel safe to share them. There can be an unhealthy kind of quiet response where one person becomes oppressed and a shell of herself. So I want to be careful here. Wives do need to be able to share their needs, feelings, and ideas at some point. I know wives who totally shut down out of great fear and it just did not go well at all.

      But I really appreciate you sharing, because I think it is helpful to hear from multiple women and to look at different approaches and prayerfully consider different approaches. I’m really glad that this is working in a healthy way for y’all. 🙂

      Much love to you!

  16. I wonder if some clarification is needed to explain detachment better. I sometimes think of it this way: Detaching from the other person’s behavior allows me to act based on wise thinking—to what God wants me to do, rather than simply reacting to the other person’s actions. I detach from their actions because that’s their responsibility and I take responsibility for my actions. But I do not detach from the person. I still want to show love and respect and empathy.

    “Be a thermostat, not a thermometer.”

  17. April,

    I found your blog about two months ago when my marriage hit a really low point and I finally surrendered it to God. I told God he would have to fix things because I had tried just about everything and nothing was working. The next day your blog came up in my searches and I knew immediately this was an answer to my prayer. My husband has been telling me for years that I am a terrible follower and very controlling but I had no idea what he meant.

    It was literally like scales falling from my eyes when I read your blog. Since then I have been doing as you did with researching and trying to learn what respect even looks like because I was/am so clueless. I so appreciate all the time and love you have put into this blog because it is exactly what I’ve needed.

    I am trying to be in that “awkward quiet phase” but I’m finding it really hard, like my tongue is still much faster than my mind, and disrespect and controlling words come out before I even think about it. In some ways I see myself making progress, and when I am respectful it makes an immediate difference with my husband. But when I mess up, he is understandably distancing again, and says “I thought you were going to be respectful now”.

    Did you go through a similar phase? I desperately want him to see that I’m trying my best, but feel that these habits are so difficult to break. We have also been experiencing a bit of a desert in the physical intimacy department since I started trying to be more respectful. I thought it would be the opposite, but I am thinking maybe since I am now aware of how deeply I’ve hurt my husband over the years, maybe he is more aware of that hurt too and is not wanting to be vulnerable around me at all?

    I am a Christian who attends church regularly, my husband is a Christian who does not attend church. I feel like I so rarely, if ever, have actually seen a good example of biblical submission and respect in marriage, I really don’t know who to ask these things to in my real life.

    1. Bekahdance,

      How I praise God that you have surrendered your life and marriage to God! WOOHOO!!!! 🙂 SO EXCITING!

      I definitely understand about the scales falling from your eyes – that was my experience when I read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs 7 years ago. I was SHOCKED at what I hadn’t seen and the damage I had done.

      This is a process of tearing out all of the old ways of thinking and lies and rebuilding completely on Christ and His Word. It is a process. It doesn’t happen in a day, a week, or a few months. Not even in a year. It is a lifetime journey of being transformed to be more like Christ.

      A lot of husbands think a wife can simply flip a switch and suddenly understand men and suddenly have a completely new mindset in an instant. That is not how this journey works. It is a painfully slow journey that involves serious self-introspection, total heart change, lots of learning and practice – much like learning a new language.

      My husband stayed very distant for a long time. It took 3.5 years before he felt safe with me again. There were very slow steps and excruciatingly slow improvements but it often felt like things were standing still indefinitely from my perspective.

      I have some posts about this journey for husbands, would you be interested in the links?

      These habits are very difficult to break. It takes hours and hours of prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, discipline, practice, much study… it is painful. Actually, men have a similar journey to become godly husbands, too. That is equally difficult. They just often begin their journey later as they see us healing. So he will have his own journey to make, as well.

      It is possible that he realizes how much pain he has been going through now and that he may have expectations that are unrealistic about how quickly you should be able to change, too. He is probably waiting to see if this is for real. Check out When She Surrendered to see what my husband was thinking as God changed me. You may also search “interview” for several posts about how my husband and another husband felt that may be helpful.

      Also

      “Why Isn’t My Husband Being More Supportive As I Try to Change?”
      I Am Trying to Submit to and Respect my Husband but He Is Being More Unloving Than Ever! What Is Going On?

      I understand the struggle when you haven’t seen examples and haven’t had a teacher and don’t know what respect and disrespect even are. It felt like I was trying to teach myself Chinese or some foreign language without a teacher for a long time. I spent hours and hours every day for years studying and praying and begging God to change me and show me. Dig deeply. Go slowly. Learn all you can. Focus on the sufficiency and sovereignty and love of Christ and your security in Him.

      If you haven’t, please also search my home page for things like:

      – idol/idols/idolatry
      – closeness
      – control
      – disrespect
      – respect
      – identity in Christ
      – resting in Christ
      – how to be filled with the Holy Spirit
      – ungodly woman
      – godly femininity

      I’m glad to point you to Christ and to support, love, pray for, and encourage you here any time.

      Much love, my precious sister! I am so thrilled to be on this journey together!

      1. Thank you so much for your quick response. I am relieved to know I am not the only one who has struggled with old son patterns even after recognizing they are sinful. I have gone back to the very beginning of your blog and have been working my way through it, as well as making a list of all the books you recommend and starting to read those. I am also redoing the bible study “no other gods” by Kelly mintor, and am amazed at how much I missed the first time through. I’ve been so prideful for so long. I’ve also had no idea what actually trusting God really means, I’ve been trying to MAKE things happen my way for so long. It feels almost agonizing to wait for God and wait for my husband now. But I am also seeing the rotten fruit of my behavior in the past. Decisions I made without consulting my husband and how if I had listened to him, or even just asked for his wisdom and help, many situations would have turned out so differently. I’m mourning those years of my life that all these weeds have been growing so deeply into my heart.

        Thank you for the resources. I think at this time my husband will probably not be open to anything I would ask him to read. I will keep working on myself and praying and trusting God for our marriage to truly blossom.

        Thank you for your encouragement and prayers.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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